FALL CAMP STORYLINES: Center

OSU OFFENSIVE LINE COACH Mike Cavanaugh isn't given to flattery and false praise. He dishes out fuzzy compliments about as often as he blogs. But coach Cav says the combination of Alex Linnenkohl and Grant Johnson at center is the best he has had in his time coaching at Oregon State. BF.C in a continuing series leading up to fall camp breaks down the center position..

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DEPTH CHART: Jr. Alex Linnenkohl, So. Grant Johnson

PLAYERS LOST:  No one.

INJURIES:  None.

OVERVIEW:  Although Alex Linnenkohl and Grant Johnson may not be household names outside of Beaver Nation, offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh says the combination of the two forms the most talented group he has had at the position since coming to Corvallis.

The sky is the limit for Linnenkohl, who has a superb understanding of the offense and could earn All Pac-10 honors if he continues to climb the path he blazed last year. Cavanaugh says the one thing he needs to do to take his game to the next level is to finish better.

Still, Linnenkohl was solid last season, starting all 13 games and improving each oneLast year in fall camp. projected '08 starting center Marcus Henderson suddenly found himself in a month-plus long battle with mono. Henderson was back and cleared to play before Week 2 but once Linnenkohl earned the starting job in camp, he never let it go.

His nickname is Tas - as in The Tasmanian Devil - because of his fiery personality and competitive nature on the field.

Johnson, who has also played some tackle, will backup Linnenkohl.  Just like Linnenkohl, Johnson is smart, tough as nails and athletic -- he can pull and run with ease.

Center is in good hands with the Beaver duo.  Indeed, center is one of the strongest, and perhaps one of the most underappreciated, units on the entire Beavers' team.

AN OPTIMIST WOULD SAY:  With a solid one-two punch, the middle of the offensive line is in fine shape with two talented centers.

A PESSIMIST WOULD SAYThe Beavs are a couple turned ankles away from the land of uncertainty.

STAR PLAYERAlex Linnenkohl.

UNIT WEAKNESS: Nothing, unless a decidedly hard luck run of injuries jumps up and bites.

UNIT STRENGTH: Smarts and athleticism.  Again, Cavanaugh says they are the best center combo since he has been at OSU - enough said.

INCOMING RECRUITSTo be determined, Cavanaugh likes to try out his young guys at positions up and down the line before fully charting their course.

NOTABLE NOTE:  The Beavers have played in a bowl game in six of the last seven seasons and the center position has been (anonymously) key every year.

STATS:  The offense scored a touchdown in five plays or less 22 times last year which tied for the 10th most in the nation.  The offense also scored 18 touchdowns in drives of two minutes or less - good for 15th in the nation.

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